Should students stand for the Pledge of Allegiance?

April 13, 2023

Rising up for the flag isn’t an option or a choice, it’s mandatory!

Please rise for the pledge of allegiance, put your right hand over your heart, ready, salute: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which we stand, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We rise because we were given freedom, and because we aren’t in a monarchy. Unlike other countries, we have freedom, we don’t have to wear certain clothes or be forced into religion. The United States is known for its opportunities and helping people in need. That is why our slogan is “Land of the free and home of the brave.” While everyone can agree there is room for improvement in our country, there is no country more free than ours.
We rise for the hopes and dreams and goals of our future generations. Children are taught the flag salute during their first years at school. They are also taught that they are the future; we need children to thrive for the future. When they recite the pledge every morning, they are promising our future, to be better than we were and to advance the U.S. as much as they can.
We stand for the flag salute because we love the opportunities we are given in this country: women are allowed to work wherever they please, children are allowed to pursue an education all the way through high school and even after. This country provides the most opportunities for anyone and everyone, which is why we have a high immigration status. The American Dream drives people of all nations to come here and live their lives free from tyranny and oppression.
When trying to become a legal citizen, you have to pass a series of tests. After those tests, they must state the Oath of Allegiance. This is to honor your rights as an American citizen. You are an American citizen, so why can’t you stand? Why can’t you stand for ten seconds and acknowledge you live in the best country on Earth?
In my second period class, after the bell rings, there is always an announcement stating, “Please rise for the pledge of allegiance.” Out of the 24 people in the class, including the teacher and myself, five of us stand and recite the salute. Everyday when they do that, I always wonder to myself, “why aren’t they standing?”
When you sit during the flag salute, you’re not supporting those who lost their lives for our freedom. My father is a second generation Air Force sergeant, so out of respect for him I stand- not just him, but for all the soldiers who have fought for our freedom and our rights. When I see people who don’t stand for the flag, it feels like they are disrespecting not just me, but the people who worked so hard for our rights that we have today. People don’t stop to realize that there were children who lost their fathers, mothers who lost their sons, wives who lost their husbands, all for what? Uneducated people to sit and disrespect them?
The system may have some flaws, but being ungrateful isn’t helping fix the problem; it is further dividing us.

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Students are not obligated to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance

At the signal put your hands to your side, face the flag and after reciting “to my flag” raise your right arm toward the flag and keep it there until the end of the affirmation. Ready, all together now: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
The pledge of allegiance was first written in 1892 by a former priest named Francis Bellamy who wrote the pledge with the intent to capture the American spirit and what it meant to be a “true American.” Just over 30 years later, the pledge was altered and the words “the Flag of the United States of America” was added to put emphasis on the country the pledge is for.
Then in 1954, the pledge was revised for its last time with the words “under God” being added due to America not wanting to be associated with Soviet communism, which led to the pledge we have and use today.
But if we don’t live in a monarchy, why should it be mandatory to all stand together in unison and robotically recite a pledge to our country’s flag? Especially when it is a country that prides itself on freedom, individuality and being able to practice any religion of your choosing – being forced to stand for and recite the pledge fundamentally goes against all of those ideas.
However, when it comes to the pledge and its wording it seems to be almost like a business proposal, in the context that America will promise to be a united nation that is fair to all of its citizens no matter their religion or cultural background as long as you are a citizen who believes in God and promises to worship a flag that represents said country. So how are we supposed to hold up our end of the bargain when the country doesn’t?
The pledge only focuses on one religion instead of all religions that are practiced in America, and when reciting the pledge, it becomes clear only one is truly acceptable.
The pledge also states that there is “justice for all,” but the reality is that injustice is happening all over our country. With the recent police brutality, overturning of Roe V. Wade, and LGBTQ+ rights being compromised; it’s these basic human rights that should be thought of when we recite a promise to a country that is supposed to protect us from injustice. It just doesn’t seem to be fair that we should have to stand and respect some tradition that is entirely hypocritical.
Although some stand out of respect for veterans, active soldiers and people lost in combat; what about those who lost their lives to unlawful police officers or the amount of women who may lose their lives because they don’t have access to certain safe medical treatment options.
These soldiers fought and lost their lives fighting for our freedom, while these citizens lost their lives to injustice. Who would we be as a country if we didn’t utilize the freedom that was fought for us? Being able to have the choice to stand or sit exercises that right that was gratefully fought for.
Not only that, but when immigrants choose to come to America to chase the “American Dream,” they are instead faced with having to go through a long process that includes a test to determine whether or not they are fit to be a citizen. After they pass the test, they will then have to state an oath of allegiance that was originally written by a person who saw immigrants as “dull-witted and frantical” and fought to keep them out of America, according to an article published by the Washington Post.
Students sitting for the pledge does not mean that they are disrespectful or uneducated; it can range from protesting based on religion, police brutality or human rights being challenged. Or sitting can just mean that they don’t want to stand, all reasons well within their rights as Americans. Overall, standing for the pledge of allegiance is not mandatory nor is it a law, but it is our right as American citizens to choose to sit no matter the reasoning behind it, just as it is your right to choose to stand.

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